I follow mostly friends and dogs on Instagram, with a few celebrities thrown in for good measure. Recently, I saw posts on my feed tagged with #IAmMoreThan, accompanied with an inspirational story and beautiful photo. Turns out, this campaign was started by none other than the Insta-queen herself, Kylie Jenner.
Jenner has more than 35 million followers (as of today’s writing) and is using that social-media power for good: She began this anti-bullying campaign to showcase people who’ve overcome bullying and can prove they’re “more than” what they’ve been teased for.
From plus-size women to those suffering from rare genetic diseases, there’s a relatable story for every person who’s felt shamed for something, often out of their own control.
Personally, I applaud Jenner for shining a spotlight on the strength it takes to persevere beyond your tormentors. I’ve been on both sides of the bullying coin, and it’s taken years for me to face each path.
I developed physically in 3rd grade (well before most of my female peers) and was teased endlessly through the years because of my body, reddish hair, dark freckles, fair skin, huge glasses, awkward braces … you name it.
My parents had differing suggestions: Dad took the “toughen up, soldier” approach, while mom encouraged quick comebacks and a sharp wit. I took the latter route to the extreme, becoming a bully myself while I used humor as a defense mechanism. If I could hurt them before they hurt me, I thought, I won’t be so miserable.
This led to me being quite the mean girl all the way through high school — often friendly enough with various groups but never dare letting anyone get close enough to see the real, genuine me.
The vulnerable girl who hated her large chest and freckled skin.
The funny girl who overdeveloped a sharp tongue and tough exterior.
The sad girl who contemplated how easy it’d be to just end the pain.
I’m not saying adolescence is a walk in the park for anyone — and Lord knows, I’m thankful every day that I went through my most awkward years without social media or the Internet to document it all. Kids today who struggle with cyberbullies have seemingly no escape from the ridicule, the nasty names, the constant cattiness.
It’s my hope that with campaigns like #IAmMoreThan, people of all ages will feel more comfortable in their own skin and proud of their “flaws.” I wouldn’t expect it from a Kardsahian clan member, but I’m sure glad she’s using her soapbox for good.
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